Vow of silence

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A vow of silence is a vow to maintain silence. Although it is commonly associated with monasticism, no major monastic order takes a vow of silence. Even the most fervently silent orders such as the Carthusians have time in their schedule for talking. Recently, the vow of silence has been embraced by some in secular society as means of protest or of deepening their spirituality. Silence is often seen as essential to deepening a relationship with God. [1] It is also considered a virtue in some religions. [2]

A vow is a promise or oath.

Silence lack of audible sound or presence of sounds of very low intensity

Silence is the absence of ambient audible sound, the emission of sounds of such low intensity that they do not draw attention to themselves, or the state of having ceased to produce sounds; this latter sense can be extended to apply to the cessation or absence of any form of communication, whether through speech or other medium.

Monasticism religious way of life

Monasticism or monkhood is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Similar forms of religious life also exist in other faiths, most notably in Buddhism, but also in Hinduism and Jainism, although the expressions differ considerably. By contrast, in other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in Judaism.

Contents

In Western Christian traditions such as Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism, the Great Silence is the period of time beginning at the canonical hour of Compline, in which votarists are silent until the first office of the next day, Lauds. [3]

Lutheranism form of Protestantism commonly associated with the teachings of Martin Luther

Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

Compline, also known as Complin, Night Prayer, or the Prayers at the End of the Day, is the final church service of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St. Benedict in his Rule, in Chapters 16, 17, 18, and 42, and he even uses the verb complere to signify Compline: "Omnes ergo in unum positi compleant" ; "et exeuntes a completorio" ....

Lauds is a divine office that takes place in the early morning hours. In the ordinary form of the Roman Rite Liturgy of the Hours, as celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church, it is one of the two major hours.

Examples

Pythagoras imposed a strict rule of silence on his disciples.[ citation needed ]

Pythagoras ancient Greek philosopher and mystic

Pythagoras of Samos was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, Western philosophy. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a gem-engraver on the island of Samos. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he travelled to Croton, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated for complete vegetarianism.

Despite the common misconception, no major Christian monasteries or religious orders take such a vow. However, most monasteries have specific times (magnum silentium, work silence, times of prayer, etc.) and places (the chapel, the refectory, etc.) where speaking is prohibited unless absolutely necessary. Even outside of these times and places, useless and idle words are forbidden. In active orders the members speak according to the needs of their various duties. [4]

In the Indian religions, religious silence is called Mauna and the name for a sage muni (see, for example Sakyamuni) literally means "silent one". [5] In Buddhism, however, "one does not become a sage simply because of a vow of silence" due to the prescription for disciples to also teach the Buddhist doctrine. [6] The vow of silence is also relevant in the training of novices and is often cited as a way to resist the allures of samsara, including those posed by the opposite sex. [7] Buddhist monks who take a vow of silence often carry an iron staff called khakkhara , which makes a metallic noise to frighten away animals. Since they cannot speak, the rattle of the staff also announces their arrival when they start begging for alms. [8]

Indian religions The religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent

Indian religions, sometimes also termed as Dharmic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. These religions are also all classified as Eastern religions. Although Indian religions are connected through the history of India, they constitute a wide range of religious communities, and are not confined to the Indian subcontinent.

Rishi is a Vedic term for an accomplished and enlightened person. Rishis have composed hymns of the Shrutis (Vedas) and Smritis. Post-Vedic tradition of Hinduism regards the rishis as "great sadhus" or "sages" who after intense meditation (tapas) realized the supreme truth and eternal knowledge, which they composed into hymns.

Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change. It also refers to the concept of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental belief of most Indian religions. In short, it is the cycle of death and rebirth. Saṃsāra is sometimes referred to with terms or phrases such as transmigration, karmic cycle, reincarnation, and "cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence".

Non-religious examples

Another vow of silence can be made to express a bold statement. This type may be to make a statement about issues such as child poverty. An example of this is The November 30th Vow of Silence for Free The Children in which students in Canada take a 24-hour vow of silence to speak up against poverty and child labour.[ citation needed ] In the United States, the Day of Silence is the GLSEN’s annual day of action to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Students take a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBTQ students. The Day of Silence has been held each year in April since 1996. From 2011 to 2017, the Day of Silence was held on the second Friday in April except for April 11, 2014; in 2018 it was observed on Friday, April 27.

Child poverty state of children living in poverty

Child poverty refers to the state of children living in poverty. This applies to children that come from poor families or orphans being raised with limited, or in some cases absent, state resources. Children that fail to meet the minimum acceptable standard of the nation where that child lives are said to be poor. In developing countries, these standards are lower and when combined with the increased number of orphans the effects are more extreme

Child labour exploitation of children through any form of work

Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by indigenous children in the Americas.

Day of Silence International LGBT supporting day

In the United States, the Day of Silence is the GLSEN's annual day of action to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Students take a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBTQ students.

In pop culture

The 2006 film, Little Miss Sunshine , featured Dwayne, a Nietzsche-reading teenager, taking a vow of silence until he can accomplish his dream of becoming a test pilot.

The Poopsmith, a character in the long-running Web Series Homestar Runner , has taken a vow of silence, and has only had two speaking roles in the 19 years the series has been runnning.

"The Cartoon", a season 9 episode of Seinfeld , featured Kramer taking a vow of silence.

The 2009 movie G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra featured Snake Eyes taking a vow of silence.

The 2011 movie The Hangover: Part II featured a Buddhist monk taking a vow of silence as part of the film's plot.

The 2017 television show The Good Place featured Jianyu, a buddhist monk, taking a vow of silence.

The HBO TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 8, Episode 5) featured a character taking a vow of silence. The episode title was also called "Vow of Silence".

In literature

In the book The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (ねじまき鳥クロニクル Nejimakitori Kuronikuru), perhaps the character Cinnamon Akasaka has taken a vow of silence.

See also

Related Research Articles

Ānanda Attendant of the Buddha and main figure in First Buddhist Council

Ānanda was the primary attendant of the Buddha and one of his ten principal disciples. Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the texts of the early Buddhist Sutta-Piṭaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he is known as the Treasurer of the Dhamma, with Dhamma referring to the Buddha's teaching. In Early Buddhist Texts, Ānanda was the first cousin of the Buddha. Although the early texts do not agree on many parts of Ānanda's early life, they do agree that Ānanda was ordained as a monk and that Puṇṇa Mantāniputta became his teacher. Twenty years in the Buddha's ministry, Ānanda became the attendant of the Buddha, when the Buddha selected him for this task. Ānanda performed his duties with great devotion and care, and acted as an intermediary between the Buddha and the laypeople, as well as the saṅgha. He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.

Sangha Sanskrit word meaning religious community

Sangha is a Sanskrit word used in many Indian languages, including Pali, meaning "association", "assembly", "company" or "community". It was historically used in a political context to denote a governing assembly in a republic or a kingdom. It is used in modern times by groups such as the political party and social movement Rashtriya Seva Sangh. It has long been commonly used by religious associations including by Jains and Sikhs.

Nun Member of a religious community of women

A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

Vinaya regulatory framework for the sangha based on the Vinaya Pitaka

The Vinaya refers to the collection of rules and procedures that govern the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. The teachings of Gautama Buddha can be broadly divided into two categories: Dharma ("doctrine") and Vinaya ("discipline").

Monk member of a monastic religious order

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

Bhikkhu male Buddhist monk

A bhikkhu is an ordained male monastic ("monk") in Buddhism. Male and female monastics are members of the Buddhist community.

Rāhula Only son of the Buddha

Rāhula was the only son of Siddhārtha Gautama, and his wife and princess Yaśodharā. He is mentioned in numerous Buddhist texts, from the early period onward. Accounts about Rāhula indicate a mutual impact between Prince Siddhārtha's life and the lives of his family members. According to the Pāli tradition, Rāhula was born on the day of Prince Siddhārta's renunciation, and was therefore named Rāhula, meaning a fetter on the path to enlightenment. According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition, and numerous other later sources, however, Rāhula was only conceived on the day of Prince Siddhartha's renunciation, and was born six years later, when Prince Siddhārtha became enlightened as the Buddha. This long gestation period was explained by bad karma from previous lives of both Yaśodharā and of Rāhula himself, although more naturalistic reasons were also given. As a result of the late birth, Yaśodharā needed to prove that Rāhula was really Prince Siddhārtha's son, which she eventually did successfully by an act of truth. Historian H.W. Schumann has argued that Prince Siddhārtha conceived Rāhula and waited for his birth, to be able to leave the palace with the king and queen's permission, but Orientalist Noël Péri considered it more likely that Rāhula was born after Prince Siddhārtha left his palace.

Hsuan Hua American Buddhist monk

Hsuan Hua, also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a monk of Chan Buddhism and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century.

Upāsaka and Upāsikā followers of Buddhism; not monks or nuns

Upāsaka (masculine) or Upāsikā (feminine) are from the Sanskrit and Pāli words for "attendant". This is the title of followers of Buddhism who are not monks, nuns, or novice monastics in a Buddhist order, and who undertake certain vows. In modern times they have a connotation of dedicated piety that is best suggested by terms such as "lay devotee" or "devout lay follower".

Buddhism is practiced by 90% of the country's population, and is predominantly of the Theravada tradition. It is the most religious Buddhist country in terms of the proportion of monks in the population and proportion of income spent on religion. Adherents are most likely found among the dominant Bamar people, Shan, Rakhine, Mon, Karen, Zo, and Chinese who are well integrated into Burmese society. Monks, collectively known as the sangha, are venerated members of Burmese society. Among many ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Bamar and Shan, Theravada Buddhism is practised in conjunction with nat worship, which involves the placation of spirits who can intercede in worldly affairs.

Buddhist monasticism

Buddhist monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of organized monasticism and one of the fundamental institutions of Buddhism. Monks and nuns, called bhikkhu and bhikkhuni, are responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the Buddha's teaching and the guidance of Buddhist lay people. Three surviving traditions of monastic discipline (Vinaya), govern modern monastic life in different regional traditions: Theravada, Dharmaguptaka, and Mulasarvastivada.

Pratimokṣa collection of rules for Buddhist nuns and monks

The Pratimokṣa is a list of rules governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics. Prati means "towards" and mokṣa means "liberation" from cyclic existence (saṃsāra).

Buddhist vegetarianism

Buddhist vegetarianism is the belief that following a vegetarian diet is implied in the Buddha's teaching. In Buddhism, however, the views on vegetarianism vary between different schools of thought. According to Theravada, the Buddha allowed his monks to eat pork, chicken and fish if the monk was aware that the animal was not killed on their behalf. The Mahayana schools generally recommend a vegetarian diet; according to some sutras the Buddha himself insisted that his followers should not eat the flesh of any sentient being. Monks of the Mahayana traditions that follow the Brahma Net Sutra are forbidden by their vows from eating flesh of any kind.

Samanera

A sāmaṇera (Pali); Sanskrit śrāmaṇera, is a novice male monastic in a Buddhist context. A female novice is a śrāmaṇerī or śrāmaṇerikā.

In English translations of Buddhist texts, householder denotes a variety of terms. Most broadly, it refers to any layperson, and most narrowly, to a wealthy and prestigious familial patriarch. In contemporary Buddhist communities, householder is often used synonymously with laity, or non-monastics.

The Bodhisattva Precepts are a set of moral codes used in Mahayana Buddhism to advance a practitioner along the path to becoming a Bodhisattva. Traditionally, monastics observed the basic moral code in Buddhism, the Prātimokṣa, but in the Mahayana tradition, monks may observe the Bodhisattva Precepts as well.

The Taego Order or Taego-jong is the second largest order in Korean Seon, the Korean branch of Chan Buddhism.

Buddhism and sexuality The relation between Buddhist theory and practice and sexuality

In the Buddha's first discourse, he identifies craving (tanha) as the cause of suffering (dukkha). He then identifies three objects of craving: the craving for existence; the craving for non-existence and the craving for sense pleasures (kama). Kama is identified as one of five hindrances to the attainment of jhana according to the Buddha's teaching. Throughout the Sutta Pitaka the Buddha often compares sexual pleasure to arrows or darts. So in the Kama Sutta (4.1) from the Sutta Nipata the Buddha explains that craving sexual pleasure is a cause of suffering.

If one, longing for sensual pleasure, achieves it, yes, he's enraptured at heart. The mortal gets what he wants. But if for that person — longing, desiring — the pleasures diminish, he's shattered, as if shot with an arrow.

A bhikkhunī (Pali) or bhikṣuṇī (Sanskrit) is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism. Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the Vinaya, a set of rules. Until recently, the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. From conservative perspectives, none of the contemporary bhikkuni ordinations are valid.

Monastic silence

Monastic silence is a spiritual practice recommended in a variety of religious traditions for purposes including facilitation of approaching deity, and achieving elevated states of spiritual purity. It may be in accordance with a monk's formal vow of silence, but can also engage laity who have not taken vows, or novices who are preparing to take vows. Monastic silence is more highly developed in the Roman Catholic faith than in Protestantism, but it is not limited to Catholicism. The practice has a corresponding manifestation in the Orthodox church, which teaches that silence is a means to access the deity, to develop self-knowledge, or to live more harmoniously. Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, placed the virtue of silence on par with the faith itself in a synodal letter from AD 400. "Monks—if they wish to be what they are called—will love silence and the Catholic faith, for nothing at all is more important than these two things."

References

Wikisource-logo.svg Obrecht, Edmond (1913). "Silence"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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  3. Ware, Jordan Haynie (1 February 2017). The Ultimate Quest: A Geek's Guide to (The Episcopal) Church. Church Publishing Incorporated. p. 30. ISBN   9780819233264.
  4. Catholic Encyclopedia
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